Probiotic Wards Off Colic, Constipation in Healthy Infants

Administering drops of the probiotic supplement Lactobacillus reuteri protectis in healthy infants results in fewer instances of colic, acid reflux, and constipation compared to placebo.

Administering drops of the probiotic supplement Lactobacillus reuteri protectis in healthy infants results in fewer instances of colic, acid reflux, and constipation compared to placebo, according to a study published online January 13, 2014, in JAMA Pediatrics.

For their research, Flavia Imdrio, MD, and other investigators in Italy randomized 589 normal newborns to either probiotic or placebo for their first 3 months of life, during which parents were asked to record the number of times the babies vomited, produced a bowel movement, or had uncontrollable crying spells.

Infants who received the probiotic had an average crying time of 38 minutes, compared to 71 minutes among infants given placebo. In addition, babies on L. reuteri protectis vomited approximately 3 times daily, whereas the placebo group vomited about 5 times a day. Infants taking the probiotic also had an average of 4 bowel movements per day, versus 3.5 bowel movements for babies receiving placebo.

While L. reuteri protectis use was associated with fewer visits to the pediatrician, more research is needed on the probiotic’s long-term effects in infants before it can be incorporated into clinical practice.

The study was funded by Sweden-based BioGaia AB, which manufactures L. reuteri protectis drops.